Claire Sterk Fast Lives

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FAST Lives
In Claire’s Sterk’s book, “Fast Lives: women who used crack cocaine”, she uses information from observation, conversations, interviews and group discussions to explain how using crack affects active users. She also shows how they started using, how they survived, how they developed and maintained relationships with friends and family, and how they were mothers and drug users at the same time. In addition, Sterk started Project FAST, the Female Atlanta Study to identify the impact of drug use patterns on lives of active female users. In this study, most of the women’s stories are similar but yet different in many ways to each other. While curiosity and peer pressure caused these women to experiment with drugs, others were introduced to it by friends. While prostitution was frequently used to support their drug usage, many other women participated in the drug business or credit card fraud or shoplifted. Another similar thing they share is that they knew the negative images of crack cocaine users. They are expressed more negatively than their male counterparts as “being a drug user and a woman are generally seen as incompatible social roles” (Sterk, 4). As one of the goals of this study was to have a greater understanding of the lives of female crack cocaine users, Sterk had intentions to challenge the popular perception of crack cocaine addicts and I believe she did not succeeded in her pursuit.

Project FAST comprises of women who are active crack cocaine users and who are not in drug treatment, prison or any other institutional setting. They give contradictory explanations for their situations as “on one hand, they blamed society for oversimplifying their problems, for ignoring the causes of their drug use, for offering only piecemeal solutions. On the other hand, they acknowledged their personal responsibilities, their mistakes, and their own weaknesses” (Sterk, 5). This shows that despite not anticipating the long-term effect of drug use on...
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